Australia remains committed to Paris Agreement

climate change, net-zero

The Australian government has reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement, following the United States’ decision to withdraw last week.

Australia is among more than 140 countries that have ratified the agreement, which entered into force on November 4 last year.

In his speech, President Trump said the agreement “disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries”.

“… the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country,” he said.

“This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates.

“We have among the most abundant energy reserves on the planet, sufficient to lift millions of America’s poorest workers out of poverty. Yet, under this agreement, we are effectively putting these reserves under lock and key, taking away the great wealth of our nation…”

In a joint statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government was “disappointed” in the United States’ decision, but remained focused on the target.

“Our 2030 target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels is comparable with other advanced economies and will halve our per capita emissions,” the statement said.

“Australia has a strong track record on international emissions reduction targets. We beat our first Kyoto target by 128 million tonnes and are on track to meet and beat our second Kyoto 2020 target by 224 million tonnes.

“The Turnbull Government is working to further reduce emissions through the Emissions Reduction Fund, the National Energy Productivity Plan, the phase down of hydrofluorocarbons and the Renewable Energy Target.

“To maintain our competiveness our energy policies are technology neutral, ensuring we keep the right mix of energy for an affordable and reliable energy system as we transition to a lower emissions future.”